Why Be Veggie?

cow maria and baby sophieThe most common reason for being vegetarian/vegan is ethical (to lessen animal suffering and the environmental impact of meat production). Click the link for a downloadable pdf on Animal Welfare. Some vegetarians also cite health or religious reasons. Many also cite environmental reasons. Click the link for a downloadable pdf on Environmental Reasons. For example, a 2006 U.N. report concluded that raising animals for food generates more greenhouse gases than all the cars, trucks, planes, and ships in the world combined. Being vegetarian is more effective in the fight against global warming than trading in your ‘regular’ car for a Toyota Prius. Also, producing one calorie of animal protein requires more than 10 times as much fossil fuel input—releasing more than 10 times the amount of greenhouse gasses—than it takes to produce one calorie of plant protein.

Vegetarian diets are beneficial in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, renal disease and dementia, as well as diverticular disease, gallstones and rheumatoid arthritis. Rates of vegetarianism and veganism are increasing in New Zealand, as they are internationally. Vegetarian food patterns are increasingly common in New Zealand. There are different types of vegetarianism.  Vegetarians can vary from excluding only red meat (semi-vegetarians); all meat, including fish (lacto-ovo vegetarians); eggs and meat (lacto-vegetarians) or all animal products (total vegetarians or vegans). Vegans eat a plant-based diet and eat no products from animals, including meat, fish, chicken, dairy, honey, or eggs. There are vegan foods in all the main food groups and a well-planned vegan diet is as varied, if not more, than the typical New Zealand omnivorous diet.

We have information leaflets on various aspects of vegetarianism. Click here to go to our resources page.

Check out these websites for more information:







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